Top Notch Toys - October 2021


Whenever I talked to my sister in Texas, she would laugh about where destiny had taken me. More than once, she would ask, “Did you ever think your would be in the dog busi- ness, picking up poop?” Did I mention poop again? To be a great show owner, you and your part- ner have to both completely commit to doing what it takes to win the big shows. We now make little mini-va- cations out of the many shows that we attend. When the PWD National was in Rhode Island, we added a week to go to Cape Cod. Paris will always be there, I think. Because both Cathy and I are onboard to being as good of owners as we can and are willing to make sacrifices of time andmoney, we can survive the craziness. Did Imention crazy?Agreat dog show owner is certifiably nuts. Now the movie Best In Show seems perfectly logical to me. Of course I’m going to become my local dog food store’s fa- vorite customer. Of course I’m going to singlehandedly pay my vet’s util- ity bills every month. Sure I’m going to send my dogs cross-country for a show because it’s the best place to be. It’s just fine that my entire schedule revolves around dogs and shows. And that’s not enough. Like any business or hobby-out-of-control,

total personal commitment means getting evenmore involved in the pro- cess. Breeding, training and show- ing dogs is not enough. Because you might actually have a few uncom- mitted minutes here and there, you have to start the process of being an AKC judge like Cathy, start being a ring steward like me, start attend- ing judge’s and breed seminars and training sessions, join local kennel clubs, mentor other breeders, help owners become their own kennels, get involved in helping to put own regional and national specialties, write articles, track show and judg- ing results and network in the broader world of dogs all over the world. Did I mention crazy? As with any obsessive behavior it’s therapeutic to ask yourself if this be- havior is a good thing or not. To be a great show owner, try not to ask your- self that question. Cathy and I have learned to go with the flow of the de- mands of competing at a high level in the dog world. More important, when you see one of dogs competing for Best of Show in Madison Square Garden, the spotlight tracking her movement around the ring, you know you don’t have to ask that question; you know very well that’s it worth all it took to get here.

really think about our answers to the hard questions confronting us to go to the next level. SO, TAKE THE QUIZ: First, were we prepared to make a total commitment of time, money and effort to leverage the success of Aviator to create and produce top ten dogs? We’ll talk about the amounts of money it takes to do this later in this series, but for now suffice it to say it costs a lot of money. Vacations? For- get it. Goodbye Paris, Hello Pomona. Even prior to Ladybug we had some top ten winners, but it was a real learning process even for Cathy. I had lots of time picking up poop in the kennel to think about how we could best market our dogs and our kennel. Did I mention poop? One of the strik- ing things I noticed at dog shows that there were few couples there with their dogs. Almost always the owner and handler would be a woman with a couple of dogs. As I got to know more people in the business, I fig- ured out that in a lot of cases, the husband was playing golf or at home in the woodworking shop. Cathy and I had figured out how to share the dog business duties; she handled the intricacies of breeding, training and raising pups—I was the kennel boy.

36 • T op N otch T oys , O ctober 2021

Powered by